Digging deep: Covid and potatoes
Its well over two years since the Covid19 pandemic started. During the first lockdown the allotment was a place of solace and ‘socially distanced’ company, as well as a chance to engage with and listen to nature under that memorable clear blue sky. I escaped Covid. Until I didn’t. Which had of course – sods law, to be around six weeks after its officially declared ‘end’. I had had the three official vaccines, and a further one as part of a trial, whch was considered pretty ineffective, so I was encouraged to take up that third jab in December last. Catching Covid without the vaccines was a nightmare for many, and much worse still for around 175,000 of our fellow citizens (and still counting) but for me in early April it seemed to be no more than an annoyance and a major inconvenience. I had just completed a new potato bed on the allotment, a space that had opened up because my neighbour had removed a couple of large fruit trees whose roots were taking up significant amounts of space and whose branches were shading both my and her plots. So again the allotment became a place of solace.
With no restrictions, officially I could do what I wanted and go where I pleased, but a sense of civic responsibility combined with a level of unwellness that was debilitating if hardly dramatic (thank you vaccines), and that isolated plot at the top of the allotment site well away from anyone else seemed like the ideal place to summon up those reserves of energy to fight the infection and begin to heal in the sunshine and warm breeze. That potato bed was calling. It was Easter time and the tradition of planting on Good Friday still has a residual attraction. Even though the date of Easter varies by about a month from year to year – well it would do if its date is set by the cycles of the moon (very pagan), and potato varieties need to be planted at different times too. First earlies, second earlies, maincrop, anyone? So digging deep in my own fight against Covid I planted Charlotte and Rocket. Fine potaotes both, and as my energy recovers two weeks after I finally tested negative, they too show signs of new vigour, and the raise their heads above the newly dug soil in the Spring sunshine.